Wednesday, August 10, 2005

DUNCAN QUINN

8 Spring Street
[A, C to Clinton/Washington Avenue]
http://www.duncanquinn.com/

This should probably begin with my admission that I am what you could call a shopping enabler. Out in Rome, my friend and I resolved to stop snacking and shopping, given that each of us suffered from one of the aforementioned vices. Well, after about a week we felt that we'd succeeded ... in trading our bad habits. So we gave up and decided to snack and shop with wild abandon. Which was medium to very ugly.

Fast forward to a leisurely stroll down some avenue (Spring Street), en route to somewhere JP thought he was going. In the end we never got there - JP got distracted by the bright colors in the tiny clothier I'm about to describe.

Duncan Quinn is much larger than it appears from the outside and once inside, we were greeted by a charming man in a handlebar moustache; fortunately, there were no train tracks to tie me to so I didn't fear for my safety. Anyway, so JP tried on a shirt of my choosing (his skin tone is kind of tan so he looks good in ice blue) while I hid behind one of the magazines in which Duncan Quinn has been featured (GQ, Details, Esquire, etc - basically, all the mens'magazines I love the most). So he tries on the shirt - looks good, very good; so good that I literally "D'you want to try on a suit, maybe? Because I like your shorts and all, but they don't really do the shirt justice," I offered. And promptly went back to hiding behind my magazine. When I looked up, JP looked like a million bucks - which is roughly what the whole outfit would have cost. (I'm slightly exaggerating, but between the suit, shirt and cufflinks, we were talking about ... $1300?)

So he got the shirt, and the cufflinks, and a card. Which I am, virtually, passing on to you.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

PINTXOS

510 Greenwich St
[C, E to Spring Street]

Pintxos was a restaurant I discovered, by chance, when I was looking for a new lunch location - largely, to tell my ex-boyfriend why I wasn't speaking to him. (Its a long story and, fug me, I still owe him for the soup I got...) But, after that initial dip into the restaurant, the menu looked so good, I had to go back. And so, I did. About once a week.

Pintxos does tapas - that's the most important thing. Not that the actual food doesn't look amazing (in fact, the lunch specials all look amazing; steak and salmon are both offered for about $8, alongside veggies so fresh and young that I felt dirty for looking at them with my unabashed longing). But its the basque style tapas that kept bringing me back - not only is it reasonably priced, its all delicious. The sauces are good enough to be soups, the "spicy" mussels and chorizo is flavorful but not offensive. And the sangria is rumored to be best in the city ... but shhh, don't tell anyone.

Additionally, the general atmosphere is charming; something about the tile, light blue and prevalence of wood. The waitstaff (with the single exception of a guy who was short with me not once but on two separate visits last week) is sunny and shiny; especially if you try to pronounce the dishes correctly, double points for apeing the "barthelona" accept --- not unlike my Basque, coulda-been father-in-law.

Monday, August 08, 2005

PEEP

177 Prince St
[C, E to Spring Street]

All summer, Peep was the premiere destination for "welcome to the company" lunches, comped by our bosses. Why? Let me count the ways; besides being incredibly close to our offices (but far enough to allow for an interesting walk through Soho and a relaxing stroll back to work), Peep is cheap. During lunch, you get a free appetizer (chicken and shrimp dumplings = unbeatable) and can then choose from several types of protein (shrimp! beef! chicken! tofu!) and various delicious sauces (basil! green curry! etc.!), all for $7. Sodas are a might pricey ($3?) but come in adorable bottles. The place is just hip in general - its incredibly narrow and the workers' uniform is a sexy orange and gray pullover. Or, it could be sexy because the waitstaff is by turns genuinely attractive and very efficient (a close second when you're dealing with waiters). Also, the dessert is intense; I split a green tea platter ($6 with a fun name I can't recall) that came with ice cream, a pudding/mousse and (non-green tea) toast points. The Peppridge farm white toast was a rather drastic departure but hey, it works.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

KUSH LOUNGE

191 Chrystie Street
[F, V to 2nd Avenue; J,M,Z to Delancey/Essex]

For some reason, I've been on the Kush Lounge mailing list for months - I think I heard about it when it was in the midst of transition between location A and location B and wanted to get in on the ground floor after the move. Then the grand reopening and two dozen other functions took place and, because I started using Gmail instead of Yahoo email, I was stuck in the dark.

Then, for whatever reason, I decided that when I met up with my friend's ex-girlfriend for drinks and smoke, Kush would be the place to go; it was a nice, leisurely walk from my office and hey, it looks cool as hell. Even though the website is lacking.
ha
Well.

Like so many things in New York, Kush is one of those gems you can't get a write up of online. Kinda. In any case, its everything the site promises and better - low lights, lower ceiling, booming music, perfectly arabesque corners to disappear into, etc. We took over what looked like some kind of altar for my friend Sal's adieu to the Big Apple - I think we were about 15 people deep at that point. The only caveat is to show up with a lot of people and/or get there early. Happy Hour is from 6-8 (rather paltry considering the other Happy Hours profiled herein but rather reasonble when you consider that everything - from the cocktails to the eats to the $30 hookahs - are half price) and the menu is a might pricey otherwise. THen again, 10oz of diced canteloupe + Skyy vodka is a fair trade for $6 or $12.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

EMPIRE ROLLER RINK

200 Empire Blvd
[D,Q,S to Prospect Park; 2,5 to Sterling Street; D to Botanical Garden]
http://www.empirerollerskating.com/

Apparently, Empire Roller Rink is a fairly popular name for a rink, as Google will attest to. Anyway, I ended up as a guest at (follow me now) my soon-to-be boyfriend's good friend's birthday party. Up until this point, it was damn near impossible to verify his existence - his friends were all doing something and that something was consistently not meeting me - so I was dealing with several levels of shock when I found myself at Empire.

For one thing, its incredibly hard to get to - probably because its in Brooklyn and I don't even pretend to know the ropes of Brooklyn. Okay, sometimes I do, and find myself very embarassed. So although there are three routes to Empire listed, all three are equally far away and in the heat of the day in question, equally awful. Then again, I saw a procession of rastas (who appreciated that my hair was natural - looking, at least - and forgave me its shortness), so that almost made up for it.

The next shock was inside Empire itself; its like walking into the 70s: everything is multicolored, most people are using actual rollerskates (NOT rollerblades which, incidentally, you can't rent) and the popular hip hop of the day was flying out of the speakers in the DJ booth that looked down on the skating floor. "So ... you skate around in a circle ? Over and over again ?" I asked incredulously. "Yeah - its really fun! Doing the same thing, over and overAfter almost falling on a couple of deftly skating kids (who made asses of us older folk, of course), I'm inclined to agree.

Friday, August 05, 2005

FORBIDDEN CITY

212 Avenue A
[L at 1st Ave]

My friend, whose name regularly escapes me, invited me to Forbidden City for the first time some weeks ago and I really wanted to review it. But then, when I wandered back again and again for the way reasonable happy hour, delightful snacks and accomodating staff, I knew I had to memorialize my new favorite Lower East Side dive with the way easy to remember addy.

Not that the place is even that much of a dive. Its actually pretty swank, especially considering that the price is right - who knew tapas style Japanese food could be so reasonable ? There horseshoe shaped bar dominates the main room and is worked by friendly bartenders. The back room plays current Japanimation on a drop down screen and is populated by tables that worrk for parties 2-12 (trust me, we tried - and gave Mel a hell of a send off). And man, if you hit happy hour (everyday, 6-10p), you get an impressive array of Japan-tinged cocktails (lychee, anyone?) for about $6 each. So yes, go, but don't wear flip flops; we are talking Avenue A here.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

VINNY VINCENZ

231 First Avenue (btwn 13th and 14th)
[L to 1st Avenue]
www.vinnyvincenz.com

Went to a party that concluded at the apartment of the friend of my fake-boyfriend, and felt a little ... out of place ? until this pizza showed up. Three pies set the party back about $60 but they were so worth it, both in quantity and in quality >>> I do not hesitate to proclaim these, the Best Sicilian Slices In The City. (Comparatively) Thin, crispety crust, paired with fresh sauce and cheese - mmm. Not to mention the way they manage to make the garlic a. not taste completely garlicky and b. melt in your mouth. Literally. And let's not even get started on the mushrooms; JP took a bite and , well, he almost needed a towel to clean up. Gross.